Inside Weddings Winter 2011
Upon reaching the end of the aisle in the moments before his wedding began, Michael Guerin exchanged looks of disbelief with his parents. “In all the madness of planning – of aesthetic, experiential, and logistical hurdles, decisions and minutiae we had all been contemplating – we almost forgot that a wedding was going to happen,” he explains. However, the groom’s astonishment that the big day had actually arrived gave way to tranquility as soon as he spotted his bride. “Seeing Rachelle appear majestically on the upper foyer for her procession actually calmed me down,” he reveals, and the celebration was off to a beautiful beginning.
The serene architectural setting of the Skirball’s Taper Courtyard set the scene for the couple’s ceremony. “We were looking for a clean, contemporary space and the Skirball exemplified that,” says Rachelle. “In addition, the Skirball has special meaning to me, Michael, and our families.” Lucite pillars holding spectacular floral arrangements of ivory and lavender roses, pale tulips, white orchids, and purple hydrangeas stood sentry over the entrance to the ceremony site. The aisle was lined with rose petals as well as vibrant bouquets and floating candles contained in clear glass vessels filled with violet-colored water. Lush florals ringed and crowned the columns of a dazzling Lucite chuppah situated at the edge of the courtyard’s reflection pool. Lavender roses introduced a soft blush of color to the delicate whites and ivories in Rachelle’s timeless bridal bouquet. Three flower girls clad in the palest shade of wisteria held petite arrangements of orchids, gardenias, and roses respectively, while maids dressed in lavender carried white roses down the aisle.
Rachelle and Michael handpicked the music for the ceremony themselves, and were excited to find a string quartet that takes popular songs and converts them into instrumental pieces. “Our musicians were able to play a version of ‘In My Place’ by Coldplay while I walked down the aisle,” extols the bride. “I loved that!” A choir was also on hand to contribute live music. “As soon as Michael stomped on the glass to conclude the ceremony, the choir began singing, ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours’ by Stevie Wonder. That was very exciting for us and the guests!” says Rachelle. Every component of the couple’s Jewish Reform ceremony was carefully explained in the wedding program for loved ones in attendance of a different faith.
Guests enjoyed post-ceremony cocktails on a patio arranged with sleek chaise lounges and fashionable fixtures. Faceted crystals accented the furniture and bar area, while florals in shades of purple and white scattered the landscape.
After collecting their seating cards, loved ones filed into the Ahmanson Ballroom for a sit-down dinner and dancing. Spherical light fixtures suspended from the sweeping ceiling added drama to the room, as well as contributed to the artful lighting that bathed the space in violet. Chameleon chairs featuring rouched covers of silky fabric surrounded tables of varying shapes and sizes. Mirrored tabletops bounced light around the room, reflecting the rich and creamy shades of various centerpieces fashioned of tulips, lilies, roses, and hydrangea blossoms. A buffet of sweet desserts was offered on cut-glass serveware, and each of the six stacked tiers that composed the wedding cake were adorned with crystal accents.
Live music – including legendary tunes played on a piano completely covered with sparkling Swarovski crystals – entertained the crowd, and the couple’s first dance to the performance of a local Los Angeles musician was a particular highlight. “We had practiced for weeks, and we totally and completely botched it!” recalls the bride, whose voluminous gown was the culprit behind the pair’s seeming lack of coordination. “Fortunately,” says the groom, “the dress covered our feet. What guests remembered was how Rachelle and I would not stop laughing with each other.” When everyone took to the floor, fun accessories, such as funky glasses, feathery boas, and satin gloves were handed out to add to the excitement on the dance floor. “We still hear stories from guests about the props – they took them home and have brought them to other parties since the wedding,” shares Michael. “It was important to us that our guests had the time of their lives, and they certainly seemed to.”